Truly Powerful People (443)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Brain science tells us that memory is not the recall of an event; memory is the configuration or reconfiguration of sense elements. It is a story, perhaps familiar, but a story that we assemble according to the meaning we assign to the assembly. That’s why, over time, we reassign meaning to our memories. Old wounds become current strengths.

Because we like to believe that memory is fact, an actual event that happened just as we re-member it, we are also given to the notion that a memory is a fixed point in time. Lately I’ve been thinking about single points in time – particularly times that I was afraid or steeped in a story of betrayal or injustice. I stand in that point and for the fun of it, I take one step backwards in time. And then a step forwards. And, for a real kick, I take a step to the left or to the right. Here’s what I’ve learned: the initial point, the fear or injustice, makes no sense. From the initial single fixed point of view, the fear seemed meaningful. From any other angle, there is no sense to be made. Move past any moment and the story changes, the investment falls apart.

Deep in the woods at night when I was a boy, my brothers, father and I spent half the night stoking a large fire because a very large creature was circling our campsite. Trees rustling, branches snapping; we were terrified. Take one step forward in time. The large creature circling our camp…moo-ed. It was a wayward cow, a bovine escapee from a nearby ranch. We laughed at our assumption and told ourselves it was better to be safe than sorry.

Our fear made sense from a single point. Take a step forward and it is now a great family story. Mahatma Gandhi tells us that fear has its uses and I think that must be true. It can be fuel for action. It is certainly an opportunity for transformation when we are capable of taking a step to the left or the right. Mark Twain wrote, “Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.” Now, when I am particularly dark or afraid, I think, “Why wait until later! Step left. Step right. What do you see now?”

2 Responses

  1. a circle dance? or the joy of adding years.

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